Launceston for two nights
Touch down in one of Australia’s oldest cities and head to Stillwater for lunch. Think Tasmanian Cape Grim Beef ragù, pappardelle pasta, gremolata crumb and parmesan. Keep in mind they do a truffle and pinot dinner on 28 July, a gala evening celebrating Tassie’s black Perigord truffles and yes, pinot.
Do the pre-dinner Taste.Walk.Talk tour. These guys do just as they say – they like to taste and wander with excellent banter in between. They’ll take you to lesser known spots – a bit like having a new local mate show you the town.
Tonight, stay in a sumptuous apartment at the Hatherley Birrell Collection. It’s the definition of elegance. Come nightfall, head out on a ghost tour, if you’re game?
It’s winter in Tassie. Time to rug up, the mornings can be chilly. Go to Waverley Woollen Mills on George Street. It’s Australia’s oldest woollen mill and quite the icon. Wrap yourself in merino and head for Cataract Gorge. This urban playground is home to the world’s longest single span chairlift. Back in 1972 when the first feet dangled high over the gorge, this 457 metre ride was a hit and it still is today.
Next stop, the Design Centre is a celebration of Tasmanian talent. Huon pine, delicate ceramics and bold craftsmanship find a home beside the city’s main park. Don’t be surprised if a side table takes your eye. Through winter, the centre hosts winter lunches and dinners, too.
Next is the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, a museum all about visual art, natural sciences, design and history. There are two sites just a few minutes drive apart. The collection dates back to 1842.
Tamar Valley for two nights
Start your morning at Relbia Estate. This family-owned gem offers cool-climate wines with a certain complexity to them. Curious? Discover for yourself. Next stop is Josef Chromy’s Go Behind the Label Tour followed by lunch. This state-of-the-art winery is Josef’s life work. Their award-winning wine is the product of hand-picked fruit, processed within 48 hours of leaving the vine.
Jansz and Pipers Brook are next on the list. Who can go past Jansz bubbles? Clover Hill Vineyard has a crackling fireplace, so add that to your list. With the array of vineyards spread before you to explore, are you beginning to feel two weeks isn’t enough in these parts? Maybe not?
Tonight stay at Lost Farm and indulge in a vinotherapy spa. That’s right, a combo of wine and spa – rather divine. Sit back and watch the golfers play on this spectacular course, currently rated the #3 course in Australia.
More Tamar Valley
Today, venture to the ‘West Side’ of the Tamar. You’ll find Beauty Point and Seahorse World. Did you know that it’s the male seahorse that gives birth? That’s worth chatting about over a wine. Go to Moores Hill. They’re the first off-the-grid vineyard around here and they also have a pup named Otto you must meet. There’s also a fireplace you can stay huddled around with your red in hand.
From the Tamar, drive to Ghost Rock Vineyard near Port Sorell. Young winemaker Justin has taken over the reins from his parents and hosts lots of events as well as serves up hearty winter lunches. Time your trip around the Devonport Jazz Festival, 28 and 29 July, at Ghost Rock. They also do Sunday music sessions and offer food and wine workshops through Hundred Acres accommodation onsite.
Roll into Devonport later and let head distiller George take you through a tasting journey at Southern Wild Distillery. His gins are named after alpine rivers and botanicals from his garden.
This morning, get some yummy eggs and bacon into you at Drift Café. Connected to the Surf Club, this popular local haunt really delivers. Plus, the views out to the beach are a great way to begin the day. Make a note of Mrs. Jones upstairs. That restaurant is reason enough to come back to Tassie. Wander up around Mersey Bluff to explore indigenous history and visit a rather pretty lighthouse. Take a selfie in one of the ‘nooks’. It has to be done.
Time to hit the highway. It won’t be long before there’s another fab stop. Who knew you’d find Belgian truffles near Latrobe? A sweet treat mid-morning isn’t such a bad thing. Their winter snow balls are something else. Giant fluffy marshmallow’s of goodness.
The Tasmanian Food and Wine Conservatory is just past Sassafras. They have some stellar winter feasts. A little further down the highway is Ashgrove Cheese. Watch cheese in the making at a factory surrounded by happy cows. The wasabi-infused variety should add heat to your morning. Not far up the road is Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm Café. Stash a punnet of fresh chocolate-covered raspberries in the back. Keep them up front and they won’t survive to Deloraine.
Spend the day hunting for truffles with Henry. His face might seem familiar. That’s because he featured on My Kitchen Rules and girls across Australia instantly fell in love. Henry is humble and lovely as can be. He’s also very good at finding truffles with his dogs. In his younger days he’d claim a ‘tummy ache’ just to get out of school and go truffle hunting.
With some truffles in tow, and now besties with Henry’s newest pup, Doug, depart for Hadspen. This will be home for two nights.
Hadspen for two nights
Make Red Feather Inn, just outside of Launceston, your base for the next two nights. Those truffles you dug up with Henry might be well suited to a cooking class. Winter is the season for cooking comfort food, after all. There’s a host of classes on offer including the ever popular To Market To Market that begins with a visit to the Harvest Market before heading back to the Inn for a day of cooking. Most classes start at 9.30am or 10am, and run through until 3pm.
The onsite restaurant is open for dinner on Friday and Saturday evenings. It’s a cosy haven with thick walls, an extensive wine list and a seasonal menu mostly grown and raised at Red Feather Inn. The Garden Suite is heavenly. Follow up with more cooking the next day or go for a stroll through the colonial history of the area.
Hadspen day two
As per previous.
Bicheno for two nights
Drop into Longford for a visit to Woolmers and Brickendon, two World Heritage-listed colonial estates. From here, take the A4 and C301 on to Bicheno. On the way, stop at Hardings Falls to stretch those legs on a short walk.
On arrival into Bicheno the countdown begins. The countdown for your welcoming party that is. Hop on the Bicheno Penguin Tours website to find out when little penguins will appear. Make sure you wear closed-toe shoes – one because it’s winter, and two because the penguins have been known to give a friendly nip!
Bicheno day two
Fuel up at The Farm Shed in Bicheno and drive to Freycinet for a walk to Wineglass Bay. Spectacular in summer or winter, throw a scarf around your neck and walk up to the look out. Those feeling energetic will appreciate the chilled clean sand under bare feet on a wander down to beach level. You might even meet the curious wallaby who often likes to go for a beach hop. Indulge in fresh oysters at Freycinet Marine Farm afterwards.
Head for Orford. The joy of this journey is the vineyards dotted along the way. Devil’s Corner is a great spot for lunch with sweeping views from the lookout. There’s Freycinet Vineyard, Craigie Knowe and rustic Gala Estate. Then there’s Spring Vale and Milton. We can barely stop listing, but you can stop at all of them if you like.
On the way, break up the drive with a 2.6 km walk by the water, departing from near the Swansea jetty. The walk follows the headland and features a mutton bird rookery. Further on from Swansea, don’t miss the Spiky Bridge and maybe add one more vineyard to the mix – Darlington. For a cosy night’s stay, book into heritage accommodation at Brockley Estate at Buckland.
More food and wine today. Head towards Richmond via the C350. Take a detour for a touch of elegance and venture to Pooley Wines. You’ll get delicious wine and sweeping views over Richmond. Stop for a picnic by the river at Richmond and visit the cemetery of Australia’s oldest Catholic Church, just up on the hill. The bridge is Australia’s oldest too. So is the gaol.
The Coal River Valley vineyards are a plenty. If you like jazz, Frogmore Creek is the go. They call it Wintermore and it’s all about live music on Friday nights around an open fire, with a sparkling wine on arrival and a chef-led menu. It’s on until August. Roll back into Hobart tonight via Wicked Cheese.
From Hobart a trip down the Derwent Valley rewards with more wine. Begin with Derwent Estate then Stefano Lubiana just up the road. Stefano, or Steve if you like, is a fifth generation winemaker so he knows his stuff. Stay for lunch or continue on to the Agrarian Kitchen Eatery & Store in New Norfolk. That said, you may choose to spend the entire day with Rodney Dunn at his acclaimed cooking school in Lachlan. Don’t be surprised if you are called to milk the goat as part of dessert.
There’s all sorts of curious in New Norfolk. There’s antiques to sift through in a former mental asylum, and on the main street, Fly Wheel is a lovely store committed to good-old letter writing. Step in and get all old-fashioned letter for someone who will enjoy receiving a letter in the mail rather than a bill? Overnight in New Norfolk at Woodbridge on the Derwent.
Head back to Hobart for your last night, via Mona, David Walsh’s creation. Wander the museum, have a cheeky pinot in the Void bar underground. Don’t spend too much time down there, the Ether Building awaits. This is where they encourage you to ‘quaff Moorilla wine.’ There’s a long winemaking history on this little peninsula that’s worth finding out about.
Spend the entire day at Mona and be the envy of your friends by dining in Mona’s new restaurant Faro. It’s in the Pharos Wing (don’t ask!). Then again, time your trip to collide with the Golden Hour. It’s communal dining on a rooftop. Don’t worry, they heat the outdoor concrete seats. You’ll never see the sky so curiously colourful on your last night in Tasmania.